Dr McNamara is a world expert on the fossilization of colour in animals and has yielded insights into the colour of ancient insects, feathers and reptiles. She has also conducted ground-breaking work on the evolution of feathers in dinosaurs, suggesting that feathers may be a feature of all dinosaurs.
In her blog post for Women on Walls, Maria welcomed the departure from analysing fossils and working in the lab that came from being part of Women on Walls.
Sitting or rather, standing for the painting gave her plenty of time to reflect on her career, the project, and about science more generally. In it she says “I’m a geologist by training, and I’m very lucky in that there is a good gender balance in my field at undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral level, so I personally never had to consider the issue of gender in the earlier stages of my academic career. My academic tutors and mentors never questioned the ability or suitability of women to work as a geologist or palaeontologist. However, as with most other scientific disciplines, female role models at more advanced career stages are relatively rare.
"All of us who are part of the Women on Walls project are doing really innovative and exciting science, and between us I think we capture a very broad range of research topics. My hopes for the project is that it will enhance the visibility of women in science in Ireland and as a result will both stimulate interest in scientific careers among girls and will demonstrate the viability of scientific careers for women."
You can follow Maria on Twitter @Maria_McN
Hear from Maria here